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News / Business

Survey: Most in U.S. are fretting about cost of Christmas shopping

Plans to spend a lot persist despite inflation worries

By Erin McCarthy, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Published: September 23, 2023, 6:03am

It still feels like summer. The kids have only been back at school for a matter of days. And astronomical fall is still a week away.

But, hate to break it to you: It’s pretty much the holiday season.

At least in the retail world.

Deloitte unveiled its holiday shopping forecast last week, predicting retail sales nationwide will see a bump of between 3.5 percent and 4.6 percent this November through January, compared to last year.

At the same time, more than half of shoppers have at least one negative opinion about holiday shopping, according to a Bankrate survey also released this week:

  • 33 percent think inflation will affect their shopping
  • 25 percent report being worried about costs
  • 23 percent said they’re prepared for a strain on their budget
  • 13 percent report feeling pressured to spend more than they should

Yet, despite these Grinch-y sentiments, U.S. consumers are expected to spend about $1.54 trillion to $1.56 trillion this holiday season, according to Deloitte’s annual retail forecast, with between $278 billion and $284 billion of those sales occurring online. A Philadelphia-specific forecast has yet to be released by the company.

“This season e-commerce sales should continue to be strong as consumers search for the best deals online to maximize their wallets,” Nick Handrinos, a Deloitte vice chairman, said in a statement.

The easing of inflation, as well as wage growth and low unemployment, should keep people spending, Deloitte experts said, though dwindling pandemic savings could keep some folks from splurging as much as they did in recent years.

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